This is probably my favorite Christmas tradition. It is the 3rd year I’m making stollen, while tweaking it slightly each time to make it most like my Oma’s. This year’s tweak was more about perfecting the traditional shape of the loaf and the recipe stayed the same. I think I have the recipe down.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my German grandmother made it every year. She lived in Canada and we didn’t get to see her often, but every Christmas we shared stollen and the other treats she brought. The smell of stollen still reminds me of her highly-anticipated arrival at our house. Her arms were always full of food and presents and we pretty much attacked her with hugs and then couldn’t wait to see what she brought. All of her gifts were wrapped in pretty metallic foil paper. You could always tell which gifts were from her. The funny thing is, my brother and I didn’t really like stollen when we were kids. We gravitated towards the chocolate-covered things and cookies she’d bring. It was more of a treat for the grown-ups to enjoy with a cup of coffee.
I must be a grown-up now because I love it and look forward to it each year. I give away 3 loaves every Christmas and the other one is for Marc and I. It has become a tradition to share my annual stollen with you, too.
This year, my friend Nancy wanted to make stollen together because her mother used to make it. We called it the stollen workshop and made a quadruple batch last Sunday. It was a fun afternoon of mixing and kneading. After the last loaf had cooled, we shared a fresh piece with our husbands. Nancy did the good food happy dance at first bite. You know, the one where you’re chewing and bouncing and saying, this is sooo good! I wasn’t sure if my recipe could stand up to either her Mom’s or the fancy European bakery where she bought a loaf with the thickest blanket of powdered sugar. She loved it, though, and it made me happy. It reminded her of her mother’s and a compliment doesn’t get any better than that.
Nancy taught me the joy of toasted stollen with a swipe of butter. You guys, it’s pretty incredible. We have a toaster oven at work and I’ve been toasting up a piece every day this week. It also makes our office smell amazing.
Wishing you lots of love, good food and happy traditions!
If you’d like to follow along with the stollen chronicles, here are past posts: